Now that we've had some time to think about this & discuss it, let's start creating a plan to help.  Let's try and make a list that we can refer to & refer others to.  Here's my question:


What helps? 


Not just what helps you stop daydreaming.  This is a condition we need to learn to live with. 


What helps in any way possible?  Interpret that in every way possible, and be as specific as possible. 

Some ways you can think of it:


What helps make your life better?

What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?

What helps you feel like you’re in control?

What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?

What makes your daydreams more productive?

What makes your daydreams feel less productive?

When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?

What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?

What helps you feel stronger?

What helps you feel safer?

What helps you feel more confident?


Let’s act like we’re compiling a list of things to tell new people who’re just figuring out they’re going through this & are not sure what to do.  What advice would you give them to help them feel more empowered?

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Aaaaaaw, thank you!  

Victoria said:

I figured out the answer to all three of the last questions:

 

THIS SITE!

 

Thank you so much for creating it. It really helps me.

You're welcome! Oh, and thanks, about the previous reply! By the way, I posted a blog just now about my laptop . . . would you mind reading it and offering some advice? :)

Cordellia Amethyste Rose said:
Aaaaaaw, thank you!  

Victoria said:

I figured out the answer to all three of the last questions:

 

THIS SITE!

 

Thank you so much for creating it. It really helps me.

 

I'd like to give some tentative answer to "what makes your daydreams more productive"?

 

Short answer is "the act of finding how my dreams come true by reconciling them with the 'laws' of reality".

 

Long answer ahead...

 

Being a computer engineer by career (although I work  not only programming computers and configuring digital equipment, I also do journalism, creative writing jobs, etc.), but not feeling as succesful as I suppose I could have turned out by now, my mid thirties, I remember a movie I watched some eight years ago about a somewhat unrelated subject: A man hitting his spouse, while being the two of them being lost in their destructive relationship.

 

Movie (in Spanish) was titled "Te doy mis ojos" ... "I lend you my eyes", in this movie, the husband goes to therapy to see how he might overcome his frustration in life resulting in him beating his wife. The therapist asks this guy "what in all the world makes you feel happier, more alive than ever, and so on?" That question made me think myself what could be applicable to me... I realized i felt happy when, as a part of my job (or even hobby), a computer program I wrote worked well, according to my initial requirements.

 

You know, computers are all about simulation and virtual, not real worlds. Yet they can be a good starting point to see how reality can compensate us for some of our most ingenious crafts... that's the point in which I add the words "according to the laws of reality". In the computer, rules tend to be strict (if you are a programmer, administrator, or even if you try simply to locate a file in the right folder), I feel that outside computers, rules can be fuzzier than they could ever be in the computer, yet there are general principles in reality we could learn to make our mind creations the starting point to a productive endeavor in reality.

 

So here goes the starting point for this question in particular, read you later friends!

Yeah, I don't have triggers per se either, but many say they do.  If they do, then limiting them is perfectly reasonable.  Medications don't work for me either...........but if they do for someone else, then I want to have that information available to them.  This condition seems to exist on a wide spectrum.  Some people have it really badly while for others it's only a good thing.  Same thing for cause and effect.

At least in my case, as I got older, I was better able to incorporate my external life into my daydreams - match the mood and what I needed to do.  In fact it became helpful in getting things accomplished.  I see it all as a spiritual journey and my " friends" are like little guardian angels there to help me.  I don't see them as alien or negative, at least for the most part. 

Huh, I guess I haven't filled this out yet. I wish I would have when I found this site one year ago, because my answers would be different now.

 

What helps make your life better?
My life is better when I try something new, research it and then do it. Emphasis on the "do it" since in the past I was known to daydream about it, but never get around to actually doing it. My imagination goes wild with things to do, but it's nice to actually accomplish them. And just being able to relax if I don't accomplish something that I planned to do over a weekend because of my wandering mind. Just knowing that this is who I am, being MD, I can take it as it is and be okay with it.

What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?
Taking what I daydream about and apply it somehow to my life. This weekend I am getting a sewing machine so I can attempt to make some steampunk'd clothing, part of my neo-victorian daydreams. I've built desks that reflect my creativity - they look like they're from another world. But also, joining groups, such as choir and pushing myself to become better -- something that I only use to daydream about.

What helps you feel like you’re in control?

Last year and every year before that, I wasn't. My mind controlled me. Now I am in control 95% of the time. I choose when to daydream and can shut it off -- well, I'm not sure if I ever really shut it off since it's just the way I think, but I can stop the intense daydreaming that causes me to "leave" the real world.

What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?
Like I said, I learned how to just snap out of it.

Listening to music definitely helps me daydream more intensely. Certain songs or genres can really get different moods going.

What makes your daydreams more productive?
I don't know if everyone else can do this -- I would imagine you can. I can picture things in my mind as if they were really there -- not actual imagery (although seeing it in real life would be totally cool) but more how we see things in dreams. So if I want to build something, I can visualize it in the space and that helps me to either draw it out or just build it by memory.

What makes your daydreams feel less productive?
When I daydream about things that really can't happen in real life. Like last week I was obsessed with flying (superman style) and I kept coming up with ways of how to do it ... but the technology for such an achievement just simply does not exist.

When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?
Most of the time, because I am in control and I determine the outcome.

What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?
Once in a while (this is that 5%) I get into these dark moments and I can't stop daydreaming about sad things. These experiences last about a week and I just feel wiped out from them. This week was one of those weeks. Even though I was able to snap out of it midway through the week, I still haven't gained the ambition that I normally have had.

What helps you feel stronger? What helps you feel more confident?
Actually this falls a little outside the realm of daydreaming. I've slowly been adapting my imaginary world with the real one in the sense that I act out who I want to become. So I've been acting out this more serious, confident person and when I do that it becomes more of real me. Then my old aspects takes back over, but I think with more practice I can become this better person -- as practice makes perfect.

What helps you feel safer?

Learning more and more. Teaching myself how to survive in the real world and becoming more independent. Basically a combination of all the above.

Now that we've had some time to think about this & discuss it, let's start creating a plan to help.  Let's try and make a list that we can refer to & refer others to.  Here's my question:


What helps? 

Good question!!!


Not just what helps you stop daydreaming.  This is a condition we need to learn to live with. 


What helps in any way possible?  Interpret that in every way possible, and be as specific as possible. 

Some ways you can think of it:


What helps make your life better?

Having people who are willing to listen and try to be understanding.  I haven't told anyone beyond this forum about my daydreams yet, but other things I have had to tell my family and my fiance have been accepted with unconditional support and love.  I have hope that this will too.  Also my cat, Guen, the most loving kitty on earth helps me when I'm really depressed, or when I'm lost in my dreamworlds, or when I'm incapacitated by a migraine.  She takes really good care of me, she's like a service animal that never leaves the house.


What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?

- Work - Doing really well at work.  Completing a difficult thought consuming project for a client and the feeling of success that comes with it.  Or just making a client feel happy by wishing them a nice afternoon.

- Relationship - I'm engaged to a wonderful man.  He's been understanding and supportive of me through all of my difficulties.  (I try to be for his too.)  I like to explore and do fun stuff with him and just have a good time.  I'm also my most vulnerable with him, I'm usually able to hide my depression and bad emotions inside, but with him I can't.  He knows me too well.  If he knows I'm having a down day, he will call or stop by to check on me.

- Fun - I like the outdoors when the weather is nice: camping, going to the beach, walking through the woods, and berry picking.  I like to read when I'm not too distracted by my daydreams.  I'm also a lifelong video gamer and like to create mods.  My modding website is Phaedra's Elder Scrolls and Fallout.  Being a modder introduced me to some friends who live in different parts of the world, so that's pretty cool.


What helps you feel like you’re in control?

When I am able to focus on something other than my daydreams, I feel in control.  Which is rare.  I daydream all the time, everyday almost all day, no matter what I'm doing.  I had a rare day on 4/10/11 where I was very productive and was able to get a ton of housework done and grocery shopping with only a small amount of daydreaming and almost no depression.  It felt so good!  It may be because of the antidepressant my doctor and therapist have decided to put me on, not sure yet since it is too soon to tell.

 

What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?

- Less -

*When I have a particularly difficult mentally intensive problem to solve, one that is entertaining to my brain.  Like the work project recently that a client wanted to find a particular brand new court case that was file, but not searchable in the court's system yet.  I was able to use my "quick on the internet" skills as one of my online friends put it (referring to my ability to find just about anything.)

*If I can get myself to focus on a modding project.  My current one is Guild Benefits for Oblivion.  Currently I have modder's block.  My daydreams are sapping all my creativity and I'm stuck for now.  Another that I need to start soon is 3 suits of armor requested by a friend, I've made lots of stuff for her in the past and she really appreciates it.

*Doing stuff with my Mom.  Anything really.  Cooking a dinner, shopping, etc.  She goes a million miles a minute and can never sit still so I'm forced to keep up.  No time for daydreaming.  And its nice to spend time with her.

*Doing stuff with my fiance.  He's usually able to keep me in the moment.  If he finds me "drifting off" he gets my attention and snaps me out of it.  He doesn't know what is happening in my mind other than I'm distracted by something.  I'll probably tell him eventually.  When I feel brave enough.

*When I read a good book or series that has nothing to do with any of my fantasy worlds, then I am able to focus on the book and get out of my head.  Conversely, if it is a series I have borrowed characters from then it makes it worse.

*Video games get me out of my head too.  But they can also eat up too much time of their own.  =P  Hmm... in the case of Elder Scrolls where you can roleplay a character and do anything you want, its almost like a fantasy outside of my head and is so much less exhausting.  And I can leave and be gone as long as I want.  I am in control, but not so with my daydreaming.

*Counseling sessions with my therapist.  When I'm talking to her I'm focused.  I don't daydream at all.  I do on the way to and from, but not during.  I wish I could focus like this all the time, I would be able to get more things done.

 

- More -

*Some books or series that I have borrowed characters from.  When I read them, the fantasies related to them are reawakened.

*When life is boring.  Nothing better to do or mundane tasks that take little mental energy.  Then I space out.  I'm going through the motions, but I'm not completely there.

*When I'm depressed and need an emotional fix.  If I'm extremely depressed it becomes difficult to even concentrate on the daydreams, but this is rare.  Usually I'm in a mild to moderate state of depression so the emotional high I get from my characters interacting feels good while it lasts.

*Mostly its my own creative, overactive, ever thinking mind that creates people and scenarios.  Maybe a topic I find fascinating and choose to explore.  Or to experience something I would never do in real life or be able to do.


What makes your daydreams more productive?

When they shape my real world views and help understand people better.  Everybody is different.  My dream characters help me see things from different view points.  It makes me a more tolerant and better person.  At least I think so.  Perhaps it also helps me with problem solving because I'm always thinking.


What makes your daydreams feel less productive?

They make me late for everything.  Work, family functions, life in general.  I get distracted by them too easily and space out.  I may not hear everything someone is saying to me because I'm off in my own little world.  It makes me forgetful of things that are of temporary importance, like my fiance says he's doing something on Saturday.  He'll tell me what he did after, I'll say something like "You did?" and he'll say "I told you I was going too..."  Sometimes they can get too intense that I have to play out the dream before I can sleep, its gotten better at night lately but during the day has intensified.


When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?

Not often.  Sometimes if it helps me learn something or work through a problem.  Otherwise not so much.


What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?

Almost everything.  Most of my mental energy and emotion goes into them.  I feel and think for every one of my characters.  If they hurt, then I hurt.  If they feel loved, I feel it too.  But there are so many of them and so many things happening to them.  Its exhausting.


What helps you feel stronger?

Knowing that I'm smart and creative.  Knowing that I have a few close people who support me.  And if those people aren't around, then Guen-cat is there for me to lean on.  Now that I've found this site I can come here if I need to be with people who can understand.


What helps you feel safer?

My fiance and my kitty both keep a good eye on me.  My Mom checks in on me every couple of days or so.  I go to counseling once a week, it helps me feel stable.  Believe it or not, keeping a work routine helps this too.  Without work I would just lay around all day lost in one of my worlds.


What helps you feel more confident?

Knowing that there are other people who do this and that it is being studied finally.


Let’s act like we’re compiling a list of things to tell new people who’re just figuring out they’re going through this & are not sure what to do.  What advice would you give them to help them feel more empowered?

Something that I tell myself is that there is no normal, not in the way we think anyway.  Everybody has something about them that could be considered strange, crazy, or dumb.  Don't let anyone's labels bother you.  We are all people.  We all have the right to exist and the right to be happy.

Has anyone ever tried seeing a therapist? Cordellia have you? And if anyone has, did it work or no? The reason I'm asking is because I'm thinking of seeing one but I don't want to if they don't help. I just think if i told my therapist what I daydreamed of, he would tell me what Im missing in life and maybe that will help me stop.

I spent years trying to get doctors to understand.  Most of them dismissed this as just depression, which it wasn't.  Therapy doesn't really help me anyway.  That doesn't mean it won't help you.  Only you can know what works for you.  

If you see a therapist, be prepared that they probably won't have heard of Maladaptive Daydreaming.  If you get a bad one, they may dismiss this.  If you get a good one, then it won't matter if they've heard of this because they'll focus on finding ways to help you.  A good doctor will treat you like a partner in your own health.  If they talk down to you or dismiss this, tell them where to shove it and run.  To help you, I would take some info like the studies done and the Scientific American Mind article.  Be SURE to tell them that a real doctor with a PHD is studying it and that there are over 1,000 people discussing it online.  Feel free to send them here.  It's easy to dismiss one person but hard to dismiss all of us.  I hope you find a good one.  

Cordellia is right.  There are good ones and bad ones.  If you decide to try it, trust your instincts.

 

I've been seeing my therapist for over a year, but only told her about my daydreaming at the last visit.  So we'll see if therapy helps the daydreaming or not, since we've only begun.  But therapy has helped with my depression and anxiety issues.  Over all my experience has been good.  Oh, yeah, she has a dog that sits in on sessions, that's how I decided to go to  her.  She has a therapy dog!  Must be an animal lover like myself.  :)

What helps make your life better?

Sometimes knowing that at least my family loves me for who I am. Even though they don't know about my daydreaming problems it still sometimes makes my life better knowing they care.


What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?

Going to school to get a good job that I actually like since right now getting a job is very impossible.


What helps you feel like you’re in control?

Nothing really makes me feel like I'm in control unless I'm daydreaming about it. How does one feel "in control" anyways if you don't have a job or a driver's license or a place of your own to live?


What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?

My ADD medication kind of messes up the creative parts of my daydreaming, causing me to not like daydreaming since I'm not as creative. Music is what makes me daydream the most because it boosts the creative aspects of it all.


What makes your daydreams more productive?

Daydreams about making a presentation or talking to people about my bullied past make my daydreams slightly more productive.


What makes your daydreams feel less productive?

Daydreams about sex or meeting someone famous seem less productive since I can spend hours daydreaming about them, and that gets in the way of things academically for me sometimes.


When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?

Yes, in a way I feel like my stresses are gone and that I can take on the world until I need to daydream again.


What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?

When they get in the way of schoolwork it leaves me feeling worried about being able to complete the assignment on time. When that happens I get depressed and tend to daydream more too to try and boost my mood back up.


What helps you feel stronger?

Knowing I've survived all of these years after everything I've been through.


What helps you feel safer?

Isolating myself which I hate doing but for some reason large crowds of people scare me now.


What helps you feel more confident?

I have a very poor self esteem to be honest, so it's pretty hard to feel confident about anything. If I complete a goal I had set I feel a slight boost in confidence, but for me that's rare.

Hi TheMisanthrope,

thanks for posting your story!  What you described is exactly where I am now.  It is great to hear that you overcame your addiction! 

 

I am 29, have struggled with this since I was 10 or so, and it has gotten progressively worse over time.  I will keep trying though and hope that one day I will get to the point where you are. 

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